A walk on the wild side...Oxenber Woods.

Saturday was one of my yearly trips to the hills above Settle.

Oxenber Woods, sitting between Austwick and the little village of Feizor in the Yorkshire dales.

Oxenber Wood actually comprises three woodlands, Oxenber, Wharfe and Feizor, as well as
limestone pavements, grassland and marsh communities. Separately these habitats are each of
high scientific interest, and in combination they present a site of considerable significance. (link)

I had gone hunting for Toothwort, Herb Paris, and Green Woodpeckers  sadly I did not find any of these!
I still managed to take over 200 hundred photos ! have managed to thin it down to a few.
 there were a lot of sheep in these fields...
and I did see a Stoat, which I have seen in this area before, but moved on before any photos could be taken..
First I had to walk through two fields of sheep, they were all different, brown and white some had black lambs too.


The lime stone walls are covered in moss and you can see were the sheep have been rubbing up against the wall.




The lanes are filled with Butterbur .

The Butterbur puts out its flowers before the leaves appear. Stout, round ... the largest leaves of any plant in Great Britain, reaching up to a metre in diameter.


Passing the lambs you go through a gate into the bottom of the wood, as we know things are running a little late this year compared to other years, the wood is a great place for wild flowers.
Out at the moment were..
Primroses

A hardy little plant, the Primrose can flower from as early as December in mild years, appearing all the way through the spring until May. It favours woodland clearings, hedgerows and grassland habitats, and sometimes even gardens. Primroses are the foodplant of the caterpillars of the rare Duke of Burgundy Butterfly, which is a Priority Species in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan. Since Victorian times, April 19 has been known as 'Primrose Day' in honour of the late Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli; his favourite flowers are placed at his statue in Westminster Abbey and his grave at Hughenden in Buckinghamshire. (link)

Common Dog-Violet (Viola riviniana)
If you see a violet in the wild, it is most likely to be the Common Dog-violet; this common and widespread plant lives happily in many different habitats including woodland, grassland, heaths, hedgerows and old pasture. It flowers from April to June but its flowers are not scented, unlike those of its cousin, the Sweet Violet. The latter was used in Ancient Greece as a perfume and Medieval Britain as a deodorant. (link)

And blankets of Wood Anemone


The whole area is covered in Hawthorn and


 Accent Hazel trees, this is why I was hoping to find the wild flower
Toothwort.

Lots of narly and weather beaten trees.


Stopping for tea on the top you can watch over the stunning landscape.



or you could spend your time looking at the beautiful lime stone walls

Standing on the  limestone pavement. You can see down into the village of  Austwick.
People have lived, died and been buried in and around Austwick for over 4000 years. Near the footpath leading from Austwick to Clapham there is an extensive settlement and metal detecting has uncovered a wide range of finds dating from the Bronze Age to modern days. Above Crummock there are the remains of an Iron Age settlement and not far away was found a large copper cooking vessel.  There was a prehistoric cave burial in Feizor Nick and a ‘bog burial’ in Austwick Bog (or Moss). (link)

Conditions for limestone pavements are created when an advancing glacier scrapes away overburden and exposes horizontally-bedded limestone, with subsequent glacial retreat leaving behind a flat, bare surface. Limestone is slightly soluble in water and especially in acid rain, so corrosive drainage along joints and cracks in the limestone can produce slabs called "clints" isolated by deep fissures called "grikes" or "grykes",[2] terms derived from the North of England dialect. If the grykes are fairly straight and the clints are uniform in size, the resemblance to man-made paving stones is striking, but often they are less regular. Limestone pavements that develop beneath a mantle of topsoil usually exhibit more rounded forms. (link)

The sheltered, shaded conditions within grikes provide ideal habitats for many woodland plants.
(link)

Walking to the wooded side of the pavement, I came across this Ash tree, it looks like it started life from a seed dropping on top of a lime stone rock and has just managed to grow.


The flowers are just starting to come through.

From here you can look out back towards Settle and the fields.



By now I was very late for my dinner date with mum and dad, but the sheep were so pleased to see me when I walked back through their field I had just got to stay a little longer and take some more photos.







They followed me all the way through the field, I've saved my favourite sheep photo till the end, hope you have enjoyed looking through and your trip round Oxenber Woods.



Back to work on Monday, so not as much time to take photos.

Happy Hunting
AMANDA XXX

Comments

  1. Fabulous photos Amanda looks like good walking territory, very picturesque.

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    1. Thanks Ian glad you like my photos, and yes the Yorkshire Dales is a lovely place to go walking...
      Amanda xx

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  2. A beautiful area! I been to places around here, but never walked in Oxenber Woods - somewhere for the list for when I'm next heading that way I think!

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    1. Thanks Louise, there is a good walk from Austwick to Feizer were you can call for Tea, taking in the woods on the way. So many stunning places to visit its hard to choose .
      Amanda xx

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  3. Lovely images of the sheep Amanda and superb landscapes as well.

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    1. Thanks Roy, great place for sheep and landscape photography the Yorkshire Dales...
      Amanda xx

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  4. Looks like a stunning wood to take an explore in. I remember looking up those brown sheep when I came across them in that area, some years ago. I seem to remember they were a Welsh breed? Lovely photos.

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    1. Thanks Sustainable mum for coming by and leaving a comment, quite fancy getting a book on sheep so I can find out what they are..
      Amanda xx

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  5. The limestone pavement landscape is so striking! It would be fascinating to investigate what grows in the grykes. In the western US we have quite a few wild plants that grow only on limestone ... is that the case in your area?

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    1. Thanks Hollis, the limestone pavements are very important for quite a few wild flowers round here as well as grasses, hope to do a post during summer on the grykes and what is growing in them...
      Amanda xx

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  6. That Butterburr is an interesting plant. It kind of looks like our Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca). And the landscapes are stunning--wow!

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    1. Thanks PP, Butterburr looks like a very ancient plant to me, grows all over round here as it's very damp...
      Amanda xx

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  7. What a fabulous area to explore and such wonderful photos too. I love the panoramic views and the lovely faces of the sheep which seem to be all sorts of breeds.

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    1. Thanks elaine, I loved been with the sheep as they do not scare me like cows and horses do. They were hoping I had food so followed me round the field, they are very noisy when you are that close.
      Amanda xx

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  8. Enjoyed very much - your last image is wonderful - well actually they all are. I've just learned about the ash tree flowers - well those male ones that you've pictured - they're gorgeous.

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    1. Thanks Jennifer, all the trees here have to grow were they can, wild and rugged place. Growing out of every nook, they all looked a bit odd, and yes the Ash flowers are very beautiful.. a rich purple/ burgundy colour.
      Amanda xx

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  9. Beautiful. It's always a complete pleasure to take a walk outside with you. You really do have such a fantastic eye for a picture. You should be very proud of this post- a complete joy from start to finish xx

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    1. Thanks CT, a very sweet comment, the five hours to put this post together was well worth it... I would love to go a walk with you to, we would have a right all day..
      Amanda xx

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  10. What an incredibly beautiful walk! It was lovely to go along on a virtual walk with you! xx

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    1. Thanks Amy, I'm glad you enjoyed this post and my photos..
      Amanda xx

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  11. A wonderful post and a beautiful walk with some great photos. Am absolutely fascinated by limestone pavements and it was a joy to see your pictures. A shame about the Toothwort and Herb Paris but so glad you found some Butterbur :)

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    1. Thanks RR, Mum said she has seen some Herb Paris, just need to remember were ! it's not quite out at the moment, just the leaves so hard to spot. Everything quite late up North..
      Amanda xx

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  12. What an amazing post........ancient limestone ,ancient trees ..................and beautiful wildflowers. The sheep made me smile, I am sure one of them was smiling back :)

    I waked the lanes today and found an area covered in sweet violet......so pretty. I actually picked one to smell the beautiful scent.
    Green Woodpeckers visit the garden on a regular basis.....they come to feed on the ants in the grass)

    I so enjoyed this post Amanda.....almost felt I was with you.

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    1. Thanks Cheryl, it is a beautiful place should go back more often, (finding the time), I am very lucky if I get to see a green woodpecker...
      Amanda xx

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  13. An interesting walk as there's so much to observe, which you've captured so well in your photos. I particularly enjoyed the landscape shots and the different types of sheep with their expressions that are so full of character.

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    1. Thanks Linda, It's a wonderful place for a walk and the sheep were just great...
      Amanda xx

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  14. Beautiful photographs. I was born and grew up in austwick. Used to go up oxenber often. will go up again next time I go home. Have you been up Norber? lovely walk too.

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    1. Thank you for coming by and leaving a comment, Norber is one place I would like to see, even though we live in the area is one place we never went a walk .
      Amanda xx

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